Nighttime Sea Turtle Walks

turtle walks

Photo taken in accordance with marine turtle permit #MTP-20-099

Nighttime Sea Turtle Walks

Thursday Nights June - August, 2022

These walks, which are authorized under a special permit issued by the State of Florida, provide a possible opportunity for you to witness a nesting loggerhead sea turtle in a safe and legal manner. Each turtle walk will begin with an educational presentation on sea turtle biology and conservation in Florida Oceanographic Society’s classroom, followed by the opportunity, if nature cooperates, for guests to go out on the beach to observe the nesting behavior of a loggerhead sea turtle.

Considerations Regarding COVID-19 and Turtle Walks

Sea turtle walks are an intimate, close-contact experience. It is difficult to employ physical distancing practices while closely huddled around the rear end of a nesting sea turtle. During these walks, you will be in close contact with other guests, as well as FOS staff members and volunteers. All participants must attend a mandatory indoor classroom lecture prior to viewing a sea turtle on the beach. If you are not comfortable being in close proximity to other members of the public, please do not register for a sea turtle walk this year. Participants who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms are asked to refrain from attending. We greatly appreciate your cooperation.

Single-family sea turtle walks for families or small groups of close adult friends

Florida Oceanographic Society is offering families (or small groups of close adult friends) the opportunity to book their own “single-family” guided sea turtle walk. These walks, held on Monday and Wednesday nights, will allow families and friends to enjoy a sea turtle walk experience with less worry about coming into contact with strangers. The maximum capacity for this special program is 5 guests per evening. Availability is limited. Contact Dr. Zack Jud, Director of Education, at zjud@floridaocean.org for more information or to book your family’s walk.

Reminder: These programs are conducted under a state permit. Conducting guided sea turtle walks on your own or disturbing sea turtles is against the law. Please keep all lights off while on the beach during sea turtle nesting season, including flashlights, red lights, cell phones and cameras. Don't forget to keep a respectful distance from nesting females or hatchlings.

Program Details

Program start time: 9:00 pm (Please arrive no later than 8:45 pm, and wait outside of the employee gate at the south end of our parking lot. A staff member will walk all attendees to our classroom as one group. The gate to our property will be locked promptly at 9:00 pm, and late arrivals will not be able to participate in the walk.)

Location: Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center – 890 NE Ocean Blvd., Stuart, FL 34996

Program Fee: $30.00 per participant

Age restrictions: Participants must be at least 10 years of age. Guests under 18 must be accompanied by an adult guardian.

Program Expectations

  • Participants must be able to walk in soft or wet sand for up to 1 mile to/from the nesting site. Boardwalks and stairs will also be used for crossing the dunes.

  • The turtle walk might continue until 12:00 am or later, depending on when a turtle is spotted and how long her nesting process takes.
  • Following a mandatory educational classroom program, guests will wait at the Coastal Center until a sea turtle is spotted by our scouts out on the beach. An educational film will be shown during this time.
  • Cut off time for scouts to find a viewable turtle is 11:30 pm.
  • Sea turtles are on their own schedule, so there are NO guarantees that a viewable turtle will be sighted. We cannot offer refunds if a turtle is not found, but we greatly appreciate your support, as all ticket sales directly benefit our sea turtle education programs.
  • Participants must have their own means of transportation to follow the group from the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center to the beach access.
  • Beach conditions can get rainy, muggy, and buggy, so please come prepared.
  • We do not cancel the program in the event of rain – no matter how heavy – so bring a rain coat if rain is in the forecast. Lightning may result in delay of program or cancellation.

What to Wear and Bring

  • Black or dark-colored clothing is required (long sleeves and long pants reduce bug bites)

  • Comfortable shoes that can get sandy and wet (bare feet are not allowed)
  • Rain coat/poncho(no umbrellas please)
  • Bug spray (please apply in the parking lot when you arrive)
  • A drink and snack while waiting at the Coastal Center (please, no food once we arrive at the nesting beach)
  • No smoking, vaping, or alcohol consumption during any phase of the turtle walk program

*Please do NOT bring any flashlights, cameras, or cellphones on the beach. The use of any light or flash photography can disturb nesting turtles and is not permitted on our turtle walks.

Cancellation Policy

  • No refunds or date swaps will be granted if cancelled within seven days of your reserved date. Due to the popularity and off-hour timing of this program, last-minute cancellations will be considered a donation to support sea turtle education at Florida Oceanographic Society.

  • In the event that Florida Oceanographic Society must cancel a program, refunds will be issued, but date changes cannot be guaranteed.

Registration Help

  • Registration is limited to 15 spots per date. Please do not bring extra, unregistered guests to your walk.

  • During registration, your group size will be limited by the number of available spots remaining for your selected night (all remaining spots will appear in the pull-down menu).

  • Please include the same email address for ALL participants in your party when registering.
  • If you would prefer to book a “single-family” sea turtle walk for 5 or less guests, please contact Dr. Zack Jud, Director of Education, at zjud@floridaocean.org.

Choose Your Date Below and Register for a Guided Sea Turtle Walk

Thursday, June 2 (Full)

Thursday, June 9 (Full)

Thursday, June 16 (Full)

Thursday, June 23 (Full)

Thursday, June 30 (Full)

Thursday, July 7 (Full)

Thursday, July 14 (Full)

Thursday, July 21 (Full)

Thursday, July 28 (Full)

Thursday, August 4 (Full)